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This new documentary by Vidhi highlights the mounting problem of disposal of municipal waste in Delhi, the implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, and various judicial interventions.

The Supreme Court of India and the National Green Tribunal have intervened on several occasions to address the issue of mismanagement of Solid Waste in Delhi. The issue of Solid Waste Management (“SWM”) in Delhi was taken up by the Supreme Court in BL Wadehra v. Union of India (AIR 1996 SC 2969) and Almitra Patel v. Union of India {(1998) 2 SCC 416 B} which have had a profound, and long-standing implications on policies and laws related to the management of waste in the city of New Delhi.

In 1998, in Almitra Patel case, the Asim Burman Committee was formed, which eventually culminated in the formulation of the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 (“MSW Rules”). Under the MSW Rules, the municipal bodies were given the responsibility of collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of municipal solid wastes. They also introduced the possibility of engagement of private agencies for the above purposes in the waste-value chain.

In September, 2014, Almitra Patel v. Union of India (O.A. No. 199 of 2014) was transferred to the National Green Tribunal (“NGT”). In 2016, Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 (“SWM Rules”) were introduced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change which replaced the MSW Rules, 2000. These new rules were able to incorporate various new concepts that were overlooked in the previous rules. The NGT via its order in dated 22nd December 2016, issued extensive directions with respect to the implementation of these rules.

In this 20-minute-long documentary film, we have sought to explore the extent to which the rules have been implemented in pursuance of the courts’ orders and the systemic issues that lay at the heart of non-implementation of court orders. Through the documentary, we will be seeking to explore the manner in which, and the extent to which courts can be effective in enforcing the rule of law through monitoring of stakeholders in courts.

Garbage Matters is part of the ‘Courting the Environment‘ project which analyses and tracks the implementation of environmental judgments. Visit the project page to read more about the project and watch other documentaries produced under the series.

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